Until recently almost all the online gambling sites accessible in Ireland were operated by the leading bookmakers. We probably should not be surprised by that because it was the bookmakers who first invested in the technology and software necessary to enable us to do our gambling online. The first online gambling sites were set up to concentrate on sports gambling, but it wasn’t long before the bookmakers began to add a few gambling games to those sites and so began what we now refer to as online casino gambling. Although the bookmakers we know from the presence of their betting shops on our high streets were among the first to offer us online gambling options, they were not the only bookmakers to set up and operate online gambling sites. We also saw a number of bookmakers who did not have any betting shops enter the online gambling scene. In common with the internet only retailers we have become accustomed to accessing on the internet, these companies also only offer us sports gambling and casino gambling options online. All of these bookmakers now operate extremely comprehensive online gambling sites covering a huge range of sports gambling options together with an even bigger variety of gambling games featured on their casino gambling pages. As far as sports gambling is concerned these major bookmakers are still the only service providers online or on our high streets, but when it comes to the online casino gambling scene we do now see several new online casino site operators who would not consider themselves to be classified as bookmakers in the true sense of the word. These online casino operators do not offer any sports gambling options but concentrate solely on providing the best range of gambling games they can find. They now represent serious competition for the big bookmakers in the online casino gambling sector and even more new sites are now becoming accessible on a regular basis. For the purpose of this article however we will concentrate on the all-inclusive online gambling sites operated by the big bookmakers. Here at gambling.ie we usually concentrate our attention primarily on the Irish online gambling scene, so when discussing the leading bookmakers we should clearly begin with Ireland’s favourite bookmaker Paddy Power. Paddy Power was established in 1998 and currently operates more than 200 betting shops in our towns and cities. Because of this high profile presence on our high streets very few people in Ireland will not know the Paddy Power brand, but they have also established a reputation for consolidating that brand awareness with a string of unusual and sometimes controversial advertising strategies. Paddy Power are also well-known for some quirky bets and even paying out on some sports bets before the winner has even been confirmed. The Paddy Power online gambling site offers almost every form of gambling you could wish for, ranging from a full range of sports gambling options to online poker, online bingo and even financial spread betting.
The other bookmaker with a significant presence on our high streets is of course Ladbrokes, arguably the oldest of the current choice of bookmakers with a history dating back to the end of the 19th century. As you would expect from one of the biggest bookmakers in the world the Ladbrokes online gambling site also covers just about everything you could wish for in terms of gambling options. The sports gambling site shows Ladbrokes’ commitment to the Irish gambling community by including all our GAA sports, whereas the online casino gambling section features a huge range of gambling games. Ladbrokes operates an excellent online poker site and they also offer a 24 hour online bingo plat with a range of different stakes and free games at regular intervals. Betfred is another bookmaker with a large estate of betting shops in the UK and although they have a smaller high street presence here in Ireland than Paddy Power and Ladbrokes their online gambling site is still very popular. The sports gambling site is known as an excellent place for in-play betting enthusiasts and their casino gambling section is as good as any. Betfred like to consider themselves to be the ‘Bonus Kings’ and they regularly offer unusual bets and special bonus offers. Again there is an online poker platform offering cash games and tournaments, and there is also a special area for beginners to start learning the game. The Betfred bingo platform is also very popular with 75 and 90 ball games, and we shouldn’t forget that Betfred also offer access to lotteries from all around the world including of course the Irish Lottery.
We now go on to look at the internet only bookmakers who make up the rest of the bookmaker controlled online gambling scene. First up is Party Gaming, which was established in 1997 and listed on the UK stock market in 2005. The Party Poker brand is probably their best known online gambling site, and is also one of the biggest and most popular online poker platforms in the world. Party Casino is where you will find a huge range of gambling games in either instant or download mode. Sports gambling fans will find all the sports gambling options on the Party Bets site and there is even a special Party Gaming platform for backgammon fans at Party Gammon. Bwin is another popular online only bookmaker with no high street betting shops. In this case they have succeeded in establishing their brand through shirt sponsorship deals with leading European football clubs such as Bayern Munich and Real Madrid. Bwin is an Austrian company but in common with many other online gambling operators is licensed by the Government of Gibraltar. Bwin is another online casino gambling operator to feature an excellent online poker platform for beginners, but they also offer a very wide range of other gambling games including Yatzy and Mahjong. Last but not least of the internet only bookmakers with a popular following in Ireland is the 888 casino site, another company to highlight their brand through sports sponsorship.